View across the Outer Harbour of Stornoway

Monday, 8 December 2008


A new ferry ship, the Pentalina, is currently heading north up the Minch, as shown in this AIS [Automatic Ship Identification] screenshot from 5.38pm this evening.

The catamaran is capable of carrying 350 passengers and 32 to 58 cars as well as 9 lorries. She is yet to be fitted out completely. The ship was built in the Philippines and has safely negotiated the pirate-infested waters of the Gulf of Aden on Friday. She is expected to arrive in Orkney waters tomorrow.

Pentalina will take up the run between Gills Bay on the northern coast of mainland Scotland and St Margaret's Hope in Orkney, a crossing that will take her 45 minutes.

Christmas Tags

With thanks to Sugar

Caught short

At least I can embed the Onion on here.

Monday 8 December

Quite a bright morning, with the odd shower. Sun is low in the southern sky, only 8 degrees (a hand's width) above the horizon. This evening, after sunset, have a look to the southwest. You'll see two bright stars fairly close together. The brightest is the planet Venus, the other is Jupiter. They are nearly 1 billion miles apart, and were in conjunction (in apparent closest proximity in the sky) last week. I missed that event due to cloudy skies. Later in the evening, look south for the constellation of Orion. The Dog Star (Sirius) is located to the left of Orion, lower in the sky. Readers in the southern hemisphere will see Sirius higher than Orion.

Discard any pork from (Northern) Ireland purchased after last September. Dioxins (extremely poisonous compounds) have been found in pig feed, used in at least 9 Ulster farms, leading to levels of dioxin 200 times above the limit of acceptability. There is low risk to health if you have eaten Irish pork in recent weeks.